Architect Sentenced to Federal Prison For Defrauding Payless Shoes
TOPEKA, KAN. – An architect who worked for Payless ShoeSource was sentenced today to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $425,000 in restitution for defrauding the company, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
Manuel Francisco Ruiz-Lacayo, 38, Lawrence, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. In his plea, he admitted the crime occurred while he worked for Payless as a project manager for store planning. His work included designing exteriors and interior floor plans for new stores in Central and South America. He coordinated with Ordonez Architecture and Construction in Bogata, Columbia, and Christian Heins Finkenstaedt in Barranquilla, Columbia, on the projects.
Without the knowledge of his employer, Ruiz-Lacayo told the contractors that 3D renderings of storefronts were required for all projects. He told them to use a firm he said was located in Costa Rica. In fact, the address he gave them was his mother’s and no renderings were produced. Ruiz-Lacayo submitted invoices from the fictitious firm to Payless for payment.
McAllister commended the Topeka Police Department, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.